11 August 2014

Book Review: One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond

"Is Italian really the language of love? A new class of students hopes to find out.

Anna's recently been told the father she's never met is Italian. Now she's baking focaccia, whipping up tiramisu and swotting up on her vocabulary, determined to make it to Italy so she can find him in person.

Catherine's husband has walked out on her, and she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. But she'll need courage as well as friends when she discovers his deception runs even deeper than infidelity.

Sophie's the teacher of the class, who'd much rather be back in sunny Sorrento. She can't wait to escape the tensions at home and go travelling again. But sometimes life - and love - can surprise you when you least expect it.

As the evening class gets underway, friendships form and secrets from Italy begin to emerge. With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it's going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy One Night in Italy as a paperback or an eBook now.

I love Lucy Diamond's book. They are fantastic reads, with realistic characters that you can warm to and relate to as well, and I always love the way Lucy writes as well. I was sent a review copy of her brand new book, One Night in Italy, complete with it's beautiful blue and silver cover. It's simplicity is what I loved about it, but the story inside was absolutely brilliant. It is definitely the best of Lucy's books I have read so far, and considering how much I have loved some of her previous reads, that's no mean feat!

What is it about Italy that draws people together? A group of new Italian language students is about to find out whether Italian really is the true language of love! There's Sophie, who has just returned from living in Italy for a few years who becomes the teacher of the Italian class at the local college, but really wishes she could be well away from her family too. There's Catherine, whose life has been blown apart by a shock revelation from her husband and she's left to rebuild her life alone, and she's scared. Anna is determined to find out more about her birth father, who she recently learned is an Italian man. It draws her into wanting to learn more about her father's native country, and she joins the language course to learn some of her new language too. The new class form friendships together, and a love of Italy is born. But what secrets are the group hiding, and can the Italian help them in more ways than one?

I have to confess that I love books where there is more than one character plot playing out, I find it fun to keep up with them and find out how they are going to interact with each other. In this book, we follow the three women, along with a few other members of the Italian class too, to find out what is happening in their lives and how they are going to overcome their latest problems. A broad section of readership is represented in the book as well, with the younger Sophie and Anna in the book, and Catherine representing an older age range. I found it easier to relate to Anna and Sophie myself, but I felt deeply sorry for Catherine and the betrayal she is going through - it's a complete nightmare situation for her but I was so hoping that she would get herself back on her feet and see that she was worth more than what she initially believed.

My favourite character was Anna, who was desperately trying to locate her birth father, as well as juggle her new column at the local paper where she works as a journalist. I found her story quite compelling and easy to read, with the birth father story remaining a good mystery throughout the book, and her columns made me giggle too! Finally, there was Sophie. I struggled to warm to her, she was very cold with her parents and even though there were extenuating circumstances, I felt she wasn't especially nice and I really did not like her for quite a large part of the book. As her story is revealed more, you can understand why she is as she is, but unfortunately she remained my least favourite! I liked some of the other characters at the class too, they each have their own story, my favourites being married couple Roy and Geraldine... such a sweet love story there, you can't help but love the pair!

The Italian class was a fun addition to the book, and is the reason for each of the women meeting each other, and starting a new chapter in each of their lives. I don't know any Italian, but Lucy makes it easy, giving us only basic phrases and the characters always give us translations as well. It was fun to learn a few snippets! There is a lot going on in this book, lots of emotions, stories and issues but it's all so well written, Lucy has done a marvellous job bringing all these threads together and joining them perfectly. I honestly did love everything about this book, from the wonderful descriptions of the Italian food, to the language and the country too, it's a fabulous read and I really didn't want it to end. Diamond brings together likeable, realistic characters and puts them in a story that you will simply adore. I can't recommend it highly enough, it was brilliant, and definitely Lucy Diamond's best yet!

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